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China 17 August 2005

Another foreign radio station falls victim to "Great Wall of the airwaves"

Reacting to the recently-launched jamming of radio Sound-of-Hope, like Radio Free Asia and Voice of America before it, Reporters Without Borders today condemned China’s latest advance in the construction of a "Great Wall of the airwaves."

"Beijing is stepping up its control of both the airwaves and the Internet," the press freedom organisation said. "Chinese radio listeners and Internet users only have a right to news and information controlled by the government."

Based in San Francisco, Sound-of-Hope broadcasts four hours a day of news and cultural programmes to China from transmitters outside of the country. Significant jamming has been noted in many Chinese cities including Dalian, Fuzhou and Xinjiang since June. At the behest of the National Security Bureau, Public Security Bureau and General Military Intelligence Sector II, its programmes are being drowned out by music or by the broadcasts of China’s Central Radio Station. At best, listeners can catch the odd phrase. At worst, Sound-of-Hope can no longer be heard at all.

Similar jamming was already reported last October by the Voice of Tibet (based in Norway), the BBC World Service, Voice of America and Radio Free Asia. Thanks to transmitters, antennae and other equipment supplied by the French company Thalès, the government has been able to improve its jamming capabilities and can now effectively block shortwave broadcasts by foreign radio stations based in Europe and central Asia.




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